I went on a trip to Brigit’s Garden recently with my family. This is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity set up by Jenny Beale out of her passion for nature and the environment. The gardens were designed by Irish landscape designer Mary Reynolds who was the first Irish person to win a gold medal at the prestigious Chelsea flower show and is arguably one of the best designers in the country. The gardens are located in Rosscahil which is just a few miles outside Galway city. They are set within an 11 acre site of native woodland and wildflower meadows and they celebrate our natural landscape in a design based on the four Irish seasons. These four gardens interconnect and take us on a journey through the Irish seasonal festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa. The gardens mirror the cycle of life from conception and birth through to old age and death.
Samhain ( Halloween ) begins on the 31st of October and marks the beginning of the yearly cycle. It is celebrated here in the winter garden (below) which pays homage to a time for death but with the promise of re-birth. It is a period of sleep and reflection which is evoked by a mound of earth that has been shaped into the sleeping body of a woman wrapped around a pool. Another figure made of bronze leaves rests on the ground in an island within the pool. She is listening to the earth, waiting for it to stir again and bring forth new life.
Image taken from Pbase Gallery
Image taken from Stream
Imbolc is the Spring garden. This is the old Irish name for the festival that welcomes the arrival of Spring on February 1st, now known as St. Brigit’s Day. In the cycle of life, it is the garden of youth where children can play and enjoy the basketwork swings and a wildflower meadow.
Image taken from Signpost Tours
Here’s one of my photos of the Spring Garden (below) with wild flowers in full bloom.
May day heralds the festival of Bealtaine which is celebrated in the Summer Garden. This is a time of young adulthood, sexual awakenings and marriage. The garden tells the story of Diarmuid and Grainne, the fleeing lovers in Irish mythology. Their bed is a grassy hollow facing the sun and a path of standing stones leads to a throne where the lovers unite and sit together, masters of their own destinies.
The Autumn garden marks the festival of Lughnasa which begins in August. It is a time of harvest and celebration. Spiral beds contain herbs for cooking as well as healing (below).
Two circular lawns interlink and are circled by columns of stone to allow space for dancing. There is a long table for feasting and celebration. Three yew trees mark the exit of the Lughnasa Garden which signifies the end of the cycle and the possibility of renewal which lies ahead.
Image taken from Stone Art Blog
There is much more to see and enjoy here as well as the four symbolic gardens. There’s a giant sun dial, a woodland walk, a living willow play area for children and a place to hang wishes (photo below).
This is a view of one of the wildflower meadows from the woodland walk (below).
I spotted this owl in a tree (below) which I hadn’t noticed on previous visits. The unexpected is part of the magic of this place..
You can round off your visit as we did in the cafe which offers delicious home baked cakes! I’ll be going along again soon and I’d recommend it to anyone, especially at this time of year when the wildflowers are in full bloom.